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Chloe Kim wasted no time in kicking off her gold medal defense – and made it look easy while she was at it.

The American snowboarder, who became an instant sensation on the way to halfpipe gold at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, got her Beijing Games started on Wednesday in Zhangjiakou by qualifying in the top spot for Thursday’s final.

Chloe Kim reached the final of the women’s halfpipe.

Kim was the second rider down in the first qualifying run and quickly eliminated much of the suspense. The 21-year-old delivered a clean ride, landing all five tricks she pulled off and securing a score of 87.75.

The California native fell on her second run, but her strong first ride was still enough to secure the best score among the 22 snowboarders – with the top 12 advancing to the final. Kim will be the only American in the final, though, as Maddie Mastro missed out on the final spot by a half point to China’s Qiu Leng. Fellow Americans Tessa Maud (16th) and Zoe Kalapos (17th) also came up short.

Chloe Kim

After winning gold in Pyeongchang, Kim took almost two years off from competitive snowboarding to heal a broken ankle (suffered in early 2019) and enroll at Princeton. But she hardly skipped a beat in Beijing on Wednesday, giving herself a strong chance to defend her gold medal on Thursday.

Source: NYPOST

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